UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Nigel Lythgoe just released a statement following Fox’s naming of Per Blankens as his replacement as American Idol‘s new executive producer. In it, Lythgoe called his tenure on Idol “one of the highlights of my entire career” and a “a great ride,” adding that “if the executives that are now in charge of American Idol believe that the ratings will improve with my departure, I have no complaints.” Read full statement below the Per Blankens announcement.
PREVIOUS: Fox is moving quickly on setting the pieces for an expected overhaul on American Idol following a season that hit all-time lows. After David Hill was put in charge of the show Wednesday, the network officially dismissed longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick over the weekend. And this morning, it set Per Blankens as new executive producer for the upcoming 13th season. Blankens comes from Sweden, where he most recently executive produced the local version of Idol. “Per is a creative and experienced executive who has been the showrunner on the blockbuster Swedish Idol for more than 5 seasons,” said Trish Kinane, American Idol executive producer for FremantleMedia North America. “He is extremely passionate about Idol and I’m very excited about his ideas and vision for keeping Idol creatively vibrant.” (more…)